We Surveyed 2,000 Facebook Users to Find Out Why Millennials are Sharing Less
We Surveyed 2,000 Facebook Users to Find Out Why Millennials are Sharing Less
We Surveyed 2,000 Facebook Users to Find Out Why Millennials are Sharing Less

Over the past decade, social media has drastically altered how friends and family communicate, the media distributes news, and brands engage consumers. Social networks are constantly evolving, as evident by the latest Facebook algorithm tweaks. The change puts new emphasis on Facebook’s original mission valuing friends and family first. To avoid the loss of their organic reach and traffic, brands and publishers must now more than ever understand the average Facebook user to ensure their social media efforts continue user awareness and engagement.

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Social media marketers must understand their audience’s motives, so data-driven content marketing agency Fractl sought to analyze the sharing habits and motivations of the average user by surveying over 2,000 Facebook users in a new two-part study. Here’s a breakdown of the key takeaways marketers should keep in mind when optimizing a social media content strategy for their target demographics.

Gender Gap

Women share more than men, especially on a daily basis.

As far as frequency of sharing, 30% of women report sharing content at least once a day, with 7 out of 10 of those women sharing multiple times a day. Meanwhile half of men report sharing multiple times a week, but only 5 out of 10 of those men share on a daily basis. Ultimately, women are 26% more likely to share content more than once a day compared with men – but why are both genders sharing content in the first place?

Men are less diversified in their sharing motivations.

For both men and women, the primary reason for sharing is overwhelmingly to entertain their friends with interesting content. While over half of men cite entertainment as the main reason, women came in nearly 20% lower, suggesting they’re more diversified in their primary motivations. Compared with men, women were 22% more likely to cite expressing themselves to their friends with things they care about and 37% more likely to cite eliciting an emotional response from their network as a primary sharing motivation.

Generational Divide

Gender alone is rarely the sole variable in a target demographic, so looking at the generational divide among the men and women of Facebook helps give a more comprehensive rundown of the data. The social network is no longer a platform exclusively for college kids; it has evolved into a global platform utilized by users of all ages – 62% of the world’s adult population to be exact. When encouraging user engagement, keep in mind each generation not only has various preferences for consuming content on social media, but also various motives for sharing it.

As they age, women love to share more content, but for different reasons.

Women are more likely to share content as they age, and more frequently as well. While the main reason for sharing across all generations is to entertain, as women age, the proportion of women sharing primarily for entertainment decreases while sharing content to move their friends emotionally increases.

  • 50% of female Millennials cite entertainment as their primary reason compared with 37% of both Generation X and Baby Boomers, showing motivations become increasingly diverse with age.
  • Gen Xers are 34% more likely to share primarily to move friends compared with Millennials, while Boomers are 41% more likely compared with Gen Xers.
  • As far as frequency, Boomers are 10% more likely to share content more than once a day compared with both Millennials and Gen Xers.
  • Although they’re thought of as being addicted to social media, female Millennials are twice as likely to report never sharing content compared with Baby Boomers.

Millennial men are least likely to share, while Baby Boomers share the most content daily.

Compared with women in their generation, male Millennials are 50% more likely to avoid sharing altogether. Like women, however, the odds of men sharing increases with age – and it’s more pronounced. Motivations also shift with age for men, though it’s still not as diversified as women since half of men across all generations reported entertainment as the primary motivation. For the other half, sharing content to primarily move their friends decreases, while sharing to express themselves and educate their network increases.

  • The eldest generation reports sharing on a daily basis 41% more often than Gen Xers and 34% more often than male Millennials, with 2 out of 5 Boomers sharing content at least once to multiple times per day.
  • 1 out of 3 Gen Xers share on a weekly basis, making them 20% more likely to share at this modest rate compared with male Millennials, who are 50% more likely to report never sharing content.
  • Millennials cite moving their friends as a primary reason for sharing nearly twice as much as Boomers, while Boomers cite education 50% more than Gen Xers.
  • Baby Boomer men are 18% more likely to claim expressing themselves as a primary motivation, compared with both younger generations.

The biggest takeaway? There is no go-to formula for social media success, but understanding what motivates different audiences will help maximize your efforts.

Although the data indicates laughter and entertainment are universal motivators behind social sharing, the most successful brands are tapping into a variety of emotions and verticals to reach more than one demographic – and marketing to such a diverse audience is one of the biggest challenges in the industry. Knowing the differences within your audience is the key to success, and aligning a social media strategy with these findings will help generate awareness and engagement in a more organic manner.

About the Author

Ashley Carlisle
Ashley Carlisle is a Brand Relations Strategist at Fractl, a creative digital marketing agency specializing in data-driven campaigns. She works alongside a team of creative strategists producing innovative studies on the latest industry trends.

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